An optimist might look at the chart below and
say that the income gap between men and women
in the first five years of practice is relatively small—
about 10 percent. If that holds true as these women
and men advance through their careers, then it
could be a signal that the income gap is closing
However, among women with 6 to 15 years of
experience, the gap sits at nearly 22 percent, and among
women with more than 15 years of experience, male
ODs reported making an astonishing 50 percent more,
according to a new survey conducted by Jobson Research
and sponsored in part by Women In Optometry. A total of
391 full-time optometrists responded, and 41 percent of
the ODs who responded were women ODs.
Is that a reflection of the choices that these women made
or the opportunities presented to them over their careers, or
is that a trajectory that might define women’s experiences?
Among male respondents, 64 percent reported having been
in the profession for at least 16 years; only 38 percent of
women ODs reported having been in the industry that long.
The data shows some results that either affirm or
challenge the conventional wisdom about optometry and
gender. For example, nearly half of the women respondents
said they were an owner or partner in a practice, compared those who switched jobs, 35 percent of women ODs said that
they switched to a job that offered less money in the past five
years, compared to 25 percent of men who said that they did.
The survey found that a higher percentage of men than
women reported being in a supervisory role. Eighty-three
percent of male ODs said that they were in a supervisory
role, while 67 percent of women ODs said they were.
It’s important to note that only full-time ODs responded
to this survey, so the results of this survey prompt additional
questions, particularly on why the income gap widens
among ODs with more years of experience.
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